Student Government Association tickets: Hannah Yeager and Veronica Blackburn
Meghan Lange | Wednesday, March 16, 2022
Juniors Hannah Yeager and Veronica Blackburn are committed to rebuilding the Saint Mary’s community and forming a transparent line of communication between administration and students who have felt left out of the conversation since the pandemic.
Yeager and Blackburn are one of two tickets up for election for student body president and vice president for the 2022-23 academic year.
Yeager, an English literature and secondary education major, is originally from San Clemente, California. Although she is currently studying abroad in Ireland, on campus she serves as the formal co-president for the Residence Hall Association (RHA).
Blackburn, a history major with a biology minor, is from Dalzell, South Carolina. She currently serves as a co-president of fundraising for RHA.
Their platform emphasizes the importance of community both on the Saint Mary’s campus and in the tri-campus community as a whole. The ticket wants to build a new transparent line of communication between the student body and the administration.
When asked how they envision the relationship between the SGA and Saint Mary’s administration, Yeager said she wanted to build the bond between the two.
“My hope [is] for the connection between the student government and the administration would be [for] there to be more of an understanding between the two,” she said.
While discussing the pandemic, Yeager noted that it had broken the previous lines of communication between students and administration.
“There was a disconnect, I think, between the two, because everyone was scared,” Yeager said. “No one knew what was happening … there was a disconnect there, so rebuilding that first, and then making that better … rebuilding that communication, because it’s really important to know, where everyone’s at 一 in particular with the students.”
Blackburn continued Yeager’s thought, describing dissatisfaction with the College administration’s decision-making last year.
“Specifically last year, it kind of felt like [the administration] didn’t tell us why it was [happening],” Blackburn said. “It was just like, ‘You have to listen. These are the rules [and] we’re not going to explain ourselves,’ and I mean we’re all adults, and we just wanted that explanation.”
Blackburn also described how students felt like the administration was not listening to their input.
“It was the not knowing their logic and their steps behind the decisions that was really frustrating to a lot of the students because they just felt like they weren’t being heard … so just being able to let the students know that their voices can still be heard,” Blackburn said. “I think it is really important.”
A specific idea the duo wants to implement is a hotline for students to be able to contact members of SGA directly, Yeager said.
“One thing we would really love to do, if given the opportunity, is [to] establish a hotline between the students and the student government,” Yeager explained”. “If [students] feel like they can tell us or communicate with us, that would be such a wonderful way to get the students [to] feel included.”
The Yeager-Blackburn ticket’s other central focus is the importance of community on Saint Mary’s campus and in the tri-campus community.
When asked to describe what Saint Mary’s means to her in one word, Blackburn said “home.”
“One [word] that really sticks with me is home … I’m a military kid, and so I’ve moved around a lot,” Blackburn said. “I don’t use home lightly, so Saint Mary’s, when I graduate, will be the longest I’ve ever [been] at one school. Saint Mary’s is my home. Home is where the family is, and I found a great family here.”
Yeager described the sense of loyalty that she feels in the College community.
“One word I would use to describe Saint Mary’s would be loyal, or loyalty,” Yeager said. “When you’re with a Saint Mary’s girl 一 or a Smick, as we now are reclaiming that word 一 you just know you’re safe. You know you have each other’s back, whether it’s going to a football game or going out. If you run into a Saint Mary’s girl and you need help or something’s up or whatever the case may be, you better believe she’s gonna say yes [and] she’s gonna help you. That’s in the loyalty of a Belle.”
Detailing what they believe to be the most important improvements that need to be made on campus, Yeager discussed communication and the rehabilitation of the community.
“I would say, embracing all aspects of voices on campus, because I know what I want and I know what Veronica wants … but I bet there are a ton of voices who have great ideas, but maybe don’t know how to articulate it,” Yeager said. “Or maybe they have an idea, but they don’t know who to go to for it.”
Yeager continued by speaking about the uniqueness of the College community.
“The community at Saint Mary’s, it’s something special,” Yeager said. “I know the girls here want to make it the best that it can be … I know we all want to work together to return the community to its pre-pandemic greatness … we want to have events that we could all do together again.”
Yeager also spoke about the ticket’s desire to strengthen the connection between Saint Mary’s and the rest of the tri-campus community.
“We also want to improve our spot in the tri-campus,” Yeager said. “We know it’s ambitious, but I think it can be done. Steps can be taken to start that improvement [and] make the student voice heard.”
Blackburn added that by working with Notre Dame and Holy Cross’s student governments, she and Yeager want to create a more inclusive tri-campus.
“We want to reach out to the other student governments at Notre Dame and Holy Cross and hopefully work with them to either host more events as a tri-campus or just work together as a tri-campus group to try to cement all of our places in the tri-campus community and make sure everyone is welcomed,” Blackburn said.